Some furnaces naturally make more sounds than others, but if you’ve been noticing unusual or exaggerated sounds from your furnace recently, you may rightly suspect that it needs intervention. Some furnace sounds are more serious than others, and there are a number of different abnormal sounds you may hear with multiple possible causes so diagnosing isn’t always easy. Use these three steps to help you efficiently diagnose and quiet your furnace.
Find the cause
Unless you have professional training in your past, you may not be able to reliably diagnose every furnace sound at the drop of a hat. But you can make a good estimate of what the problem might be if you analyze the source of the sound and the type of sound being made. Here are a few types of sounds you may hear from different locations:
- The ductwork may be whistling or whooshing if it has a hole or the filter needs changing, rattling if it needs securing, or banging if it needs reinforcing
- The floor near the furnace may make a squeak or bang when stepped on if it needs reinforcing or adjusting
- The furnace may bang when started if it needs servicing, rattle if the bearings are going bad, or screech if the blower wheel is out of place
Try do-it-yourself steps
If you’re a handy homeowner, you may have some experience with furnace repair already. But even if you’re not, there are several easy fixes you can try that solve common furnace noise problems. Try any of these that are relevant to your situation:
- Change air filter if you hear whistling or whooshing
- Look for holes in the ductwork and plug them to stop a whistling sound
- Screw a metal plate over a weak area in the ductwork to stop a banging sound
- Use a screwdriver, duct tape, or padding to secure rattling ducts
Once you’ve exhausted these options, try the furnace again to see if your noise problem is solved. If it is, record what you did for future reference. If not, move on to the next step.
Call a professional
Repair technicians can fix any problems your furnace has that are beyond your handyman skills. If the blower wheel has come loose, for example, or if a rattling motor sound indicates that the bearings need replacing, it’s a good idea to call in a technician. Any time you can’t identify the problem yourself, you should also hire a repair technician to diagnose the sounds and ensure that nothing catastrophic will come of it.
Using these three steps, you can get from the situation of wondering what’s wrong with your furnace to having a perfectly working and relatively quiet furnace again. Whether you or the repair technician finally solved the issue, be sure to record what happened so you know what to expect if you hear your furnace making that same sound again in the future.